DEREK McInnes has told Ronny Deila that Aberdeen’s Scottish Premiership clash with Celtic tomorrow is not decisive. The Parkhead men are three points ahead of the Dons with a game in hand ahead of the keenly-awaited tie at Celtic Park.
At the pre-match press conference at the club’s Lennoxtown training complex, Deila stated that the visitors, unbeaten in their last 13 league games, could not afford to lose.
However, the Aberdeen manager is somewhat puzzled by his Celtic counterpart’s comments. “He is entitled to his opinion but I find it quite strange when there are still 33 points available to us after Sunday’s game,” McInnes told RedTV. “So, from my point of view, win lose or draw, there is still a lot to play for.
“I think it would be wrong to dismiss the challenge of everybody else and it would be wrong to suggest it would be a formality after that [a Celtic win].
“Talk of must-win games at both ends of the table, for me, normally comes after the split.
“We are aware that there is not a lot of room for error but I think it would be wrong to say that with so much football still to play.
“I believe the team is capable of going there and winning and I know the team believe that as well.
“Every time I have taken my team to Parkhead we have given a good account of ourselves.
“I’m confident that regardless of who we are playing, we will bring a performance that can help us win the game.
“But we also have to bring organisation and the concentration that is required against teams who have got good players and Celtic have got good players.
“Every game is a challenge. Nobody is going to give us points, every opposition is trying to stop you winning and Celtic are no different.
“We accept it is going to be a tough game for us but it will be equally tough for them.”
A huge crowd is expected at Celtic Park but McInnes insists his players will not be cowed.
The former St Johnstone and Bristol City boss said: “I don’t know if it is as intimidating at the minute.
“We know what Celtic Park can be like on a European night, certainly. But I was at the Celtic versus Hamilton game last week and it was a very subdued atmosphere, to be honest.
“The early kick-offs don’t always help that but we know that we have a strong backing going down.
“Even though we only have 1,800 fans in there, we know they will give us good backing.
“I think it will be a good atmosphere, don’t get me wrong, but it won’t be an intimidating atmosphere for my players.
“Both sets of supporters will see the importance of the game and there is maybe a bit more on it for both teams so I hope that lends itself to the atmosphere because the better the atmosphere, the better it is for the players.”